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RebelFlex Gives Students Options in How They Prefer to Learn

Selected instructors will teach in-person and remote students simultaneously during the fall semester. Interest forms are due June 1 to be considered for the pilot program.

New Service  |  May 19, 2021  |  By Nicole Johnson
Laptop on table with person standing at a lectern in the distance

A new method of instruction is giving UNLV students the option to attend class in person or remotely.

RebelFlex will be tested in some courses during the fall semester, and instructors are needed to volunteer for the pilot program. 

Melissa Bowles-Terry, UNLV Faculty Center director, is excited to introduce RebelFlex.

“RebelFlex will give students more flexibility as they balance life, career, and education,” said Bowles-Terry. “As they enroll in either the in-person or remote section, students may choose to attend a face-to-face class remotely for many reasons. RebelFlex lets them be in the room and connect with their classmates no matter where they are joining the class.”

RebelFlex allows instructors to teach students in the classroom and those who are remote at the same time. Instructors will engage both audiences using active learning techniques, which may include class discussions, live polling, or group work.

To prepare for the rollout, the Office of Information Technology is converting 50 rooms into RebelFlex classrooms. Each space will be equipped with technology - microphones, video and document cameras, and touch panels - to capture real-time instruction.

During last week’s information sessions, Dr. Timothy Jones, assistant professor for the UNLV School of Music, and Dr. Stowe Shoemaker, William F. Harrah College of Hospitality dean and professor, shared their experiences teaching in-person and remote students simultaneously. 

Jones sees RebelFlex as a solution where circumstances make in-person attendance difficult.

“It is important that we use technology to meet students where they are,” said Jones. “[RebelFlex] allows them to be involved if they are unable to be in the room. They can still join the class in real time and be an active learner.” 

There are unique benefits to RebelFlex, including students taking ownership in their learning preferences. 

“I found [teaching in person and synchronously online] incredibly rewarding because I could still have those interactions with the students, and it was allowing the students to learn how they wanted to learn,” said Shoemaker.

According to Jones, RebelFlex can provide a more personalized experience, showing things that may not be possible in a traditional classroom setting. He experimented with camera angles for musical instrument demonstrations, which helped students better understand complex techniques.

“The ability to use technology in the room to get up close and personal with the information you want to share became a really great advantage.”

Instructors who would like to volunteer for the pilot program must submit an interest form by June 1. If selected, instructors will receive a $500 stipend, classroom assistant to monitor remote students, and extensive training, which is being offered over the summer by the Office of Online Education.

Many instructors, including Shoemaker, are looking forward to introducing RebelFlex courses in the fall.

“This is going to be the future. It really allows us to scale our product across countries.”